Bombay High Court grants Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand bail, says Setalvad is no threat to National Security.
Bombay High Court rejected CBI’s appeal for custodial interrogation of Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand. Justice Mridula Bhatkar observed that opposing Government and opposing Nation are two different concepts. Justice Mridula Bhatkar also stopped the interference of five external lawyers in this matter. A Lobby of lawyers had assembled at the court. CBI pointed out to the court that there were multiple protests outside CBI office when Teesta Setalvad would be interrogated at the CBI office.
The court asked CBI repeatedly why is Teesta Setalvad needed in custody?
The case was heard in Court Number 17 of Bombay High Court.
Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand are being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) for allegedly collecting foreign funds. The Prosecution argued on the lines of Teesta Setalvad being a threat to National Security.
The court redirected the argument towards FCRA and asked CBI lawyers what non-bailable offence had Teesta Setalvad committed under FCRA.
CBI lawyer stated that Ford Foundation money was not a consultancy Fee and she was a threat to national security. They argued that Ford Funding for engaging Civil Society is a threat to National Security. The Judge asked how a violation of FCRA (if there is one. The case is to be heard. This is a hearing of ABA) is non bailable offence?
At this point lawyer Anil Singh said that Teesta Setalvad is defaming the nation internationally by giving out an impression that this is a communal country. Prosecution lawyer Anil Singh added that Sabrang appears to be pseudo office of Ford Foundation and that Sabrang is being funded by Ford to promote Islam. The Judge asked for evidence. The lawyer didn’t respond to the query but shifted to a new argument.
CBI’s lawyer Anil Singh’s next argument was that Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand came for the interrogation but each time provided the same answers for the same questions. “They are not co-operating”, he said.
Teesta Setalvad’s lawyer said she was involved in fighting some highly serious cases in Gujarat riots. The court was requested to consider the scope of Section 438 of CRPC under the light of Gurubaksh Singh VS CBI that states that personal liberty can not be compromised.
Bombay High Court rejected CBI’s allegation that Teesta Setalvad is a threat to National Security.
Justice Mridula Bhatkar said “In a Democracy citizens may have different sets of social activities and social point of views. State has a duty to protect this right. Against the Government and against the nation are two different concepts. It appears that in some offence registered in Gujarat Teesta’s passport is deposited. Thus Court rejects the CBI appeal for custodial interrogation. Court Grants bail”
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